SKIPPER Chris Park described “brainbox” Jake Hurley as a key member of the Bournemouth set-up.

The talented all-rounder has been in fine form for Lions this season, claiming 16 wickets with his off-spin as well as scoring 220 runs with the bat.

Hurley, the vice-captain to Park at Chapel Gate, is set to be part of an unchanged Bournemouth line-up when the league leaders visit Ventnor in Southern League Division One on Saturday (12.30pm).

Asked about the all-rounder’s contribution, Park told the Daily Echo: “He has been very good and has been a good cricketer for Bournemouth for a few years.

“Opening the bowling with off-spin, he knows the risks he has to take and always seems to get us a wicket, which is an absolute bonus. He is doing a great job at the top of the innings and it is something he enjoys.

“Batting at number seven, he has probably not batted as much as he would have hoped. When he has batted, he has made it count. He is a dangerous player and fits into our side perfectly.”

Hurley claimed season-best figures of four for 22 in Lions’ emphatic 188-run win over Hartley Wintney last time out.

His unbeaten 51 against Andover on the opening day of the season also guided Bournemouth to a crucial victory.

Lions have raced clear at the top of pile over the past two weeks. They are now averaging more than three-and-a-half points greater than nearest rivals Sarisbury Athletic.

And while Park admitted he was only focused on keeping his side’s foot on the gas, Hurley had been offering him a helping hand on the numerical side.

“He works in the banking world and is one of the brainboxes of the operation,” added the wicketkeeper-batsman.

“Him and Martin Miller have been trying to explain to the less brainy ones, like me, the points needed over the next few weeks to win the league!

“Even though he has moved to London this year due to his work, he is very much part of the social front and his mum and dad come to support him everywhere he goes.

“He is a Bournemouth lad through and through. He is great in the dressing room and on social nights out.

“With the club nights and barbecues we have, the team spirit is second to none.”

Victory for Lions would be their 12th in 14 games this season.

“The lads are really switched on. We have five games left and we know what we have to do,” said Park

“There are quite a few players in our team who haven’t played in the Southern Premier League before and they are desperate to do it.

“The mentality of our side has got better as the season has gone on. The confidence is there and it’s a nice place to be at the moment.”

  • Bashley have talked Kevin Nash out of retirement to boost their dwindling bowling resources against visitors Hampshire Academy, writes MIKE VIMPANY.

The injury-prone Bashley stalwart thought he had called time on his 485-wicket Southern League career in late June.

But Nash said: “They have got a lot of injuries, so I’ve agreed to help out, although I fancy my body might regret it the next day.

“Glancing at the team, I might have to do a 10-over stint as well – in the heat!”

Bashley: Digby, Thurgood, Millar, Morris, Porter, Jacques, Holly, Lewis, Grierson, Nash, Read.